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Playful learning

In February I was lucky enough to attend the ‘RemixPlay’ event at Coventry University.  Hosted in the amazing ‘Disruptive Media Lab’ the day featured some really interesting speakers (Ian Livingstone (CBE), Bernie DeKoven, Professor Nicola Whitton and Dr Sebastian Deterding).  There are already some great write-ups about the event which I won’t replicate here, instead see the blog post by Daryl Peel from University of Southampton and The Flying Raccon’s write up of Remix Play.

For me the conference highlighted the positive aspects of play and I left thinking that we should do more to invite ‘Playfulness’ in Higher Education.  Creating a playful environment/community encourages exploration, collaboration, creativity and gives people agency to try things out and have the freedom to fail, all key conditions for learning.  There is an abundance of literature on learning through play and it’s importance see ‘Play, Playfulness, Creativity and Innovation’ by Patrick Bateson, Bernard Suits book ‘The Grasshopper – Games, life and Utopia’ and the ‘How We Get To Next’ reading list on the Power of Play especially the video’s at the end.

Some nice examples of a playful environment given by speakers at the event:

http://www.musicalswings.com/about/

http://www.thefuntheory.com/piano-staircase

As Jordan Shapiro et. al. note in Mind/Shift Guide to Digital Games + Learning  (Joan Ganz Cooney Center/KQED, 2014)

Play is exploration. It involves imagination. It means investigating the world of the game and feeling the frustration, flow, and excitement that goes along with playing it.”

Games designed to enable learning are becoming more popular in Higher Education.  Games are a more structured version of ‘play’ and allow players to problem-solve and often involve collaboration and peer learning.  Although they often involve rules and winners, games give autonomy to the players and provide a safe environment to fail and to try and test things out.  They are often about making decisions and then seeing the consequences and receiving feedback on your actions.  As Professor Nicola Whitton stressed, students need low-impact opportunities to experience failure (micro failures); it’s how they get feedback, learn and improve.

Games at LSE

As part of an LTI grant, I have been working with colleagues in LTI on the LSE100 course to create a board game which was played in classes this term.  One of the key difficulties when designing the game was to get the balance between play and content right.  Too much content, and it’s not a game anymore, it’s a lecture and it’s not fun.  Too much concentration on the game, and the learning outcomes are not as obvious and it’s harder for students to make the links between the concepts that you are trying to illustrate.  We are now evaluating the game collecting and collating feedback from students and staff, so look out for updates on this shortly.

LTI has awarded several grants to projects involving games, including ‘Capture the Market’ board game mentioned above and an Ethnographic point and click video game, more info and resources can be found on our website.

Game workshop

If you are interested in exploring the use of games in education, we are running a workshop on ‘Designing quick and effective games for learning’ with Alex Moseley on Wednesday 26 April.  Alex has been involved with games in education for 8 years and has lots of experience with designing games for learning. You can read an interview with Alex on this blog and you can book a place on the workshop on Eventbrite.

Spark grants

Applications for LTI spark grants are now open http://lti.lse.ac.uk/lti-grants/ with the deadline of Friday 5 May.  If you are interested in finding out more, check out the LTI website and contact us to discuss your idea.

Live stream from NetworkED event Wednesday 1 March

As part of the LTI NetworkED seminar series, Professor Robert Allison Vice-Chancellor & President Loughborough University, will discuss ‘What is the place of technology in delivering an outstanding student experience?’.

 

More information about NetworkED and the upcoming seminar details can be found on the LTI website.

‘What is the place of technology in delivering an outstanding student experience?’

LTI are pleased to host Professor Robert Allison Vice-Chancellor & President of Loughborough University for our first NetworkED of 2017. Professor Allison will be discussing the role that technology and innovation have played in the success of Loughborough in becoming one of the leading universities in the UK, and the challenges he sees in the ‘uncertain futures’ for HE over the next 5 years.

The talk will be held on Wednesday March 1st at 2.30pm and will be held in KSW G.01.  Book your free ticket for this event here  http://bit.ly/2lgAlSy

 

Ahead of his NetworkED seminar next week we had a quick Q&A with Professor Allison.

 

Q. You have been the Vice-Chancellor and President of Loughborough University since September 2012, how has Loughborough responded to the significant changes that have occurred in Higher Education during that time?

Loughborough has responded by maintaining a degree of agility, allowing us to respond promptly to the expectations of our students and through working in partnership with them as stakeholders in the University, not as customers or consumers.

Q. Loughborough University has been successful in numerous university rankings during this time including being awarded 1st for student experience in the TES 2016 survey, what are the key principles at the heart of that success?

The most important factor in our success has been seeing our students as co-creators of their education and wider student experience and, through this, giving them a tangible link to the success and future of the University.

Q. What role have technology and innovation played in the enhancing the student learning and teaching experience at Loughborough?

In some areas the role of technology has been significant, in others not relevant at all.

Q. The theme of the 2017 NetworkED seminars is ‘Uncertain Futures’, what do you feel will be the most potentially disruptive (or transformative) issue facing Higher Education institutions in the next 5 years?

Disruptive: competition.

Transformative: marketisation.

 

For those that cannot attend the seminar will be recorded and added to the LTI Youtube channel.

You may also be interested in attending our upcoming NetworkED seminars:
Liz Sprout from Google education on Wednesday 10th May
Andy Moss from Pearson Education on Wednesday 14th June.

Long distance collaborative teaching – evaluation and recommendations

LTI Grants aim to test new forms of teaching, learning, and assessment at LSE through the use of technology, with the aim of diversifying student experience.  Last year LTI worked with the department of Government to run a multi-institution collaborative teaching project.  The project evaluation provided recommendations for future implementation and is summarised below.

The project

2015/16 LTI grant winner, Dr Francisco Panizza from the Department of Government worked with LTI to set up a collaborative long distance course on the politics and political economics of the BRICS* countries.  The transAtlantic course ran weekly as an elective pilot for students in the Michaelmas term 2015.

Francisco Panizza

Francisco Panizza

brics-tech-set-up-cropped
Tony Spanakos

Tony Spanakos

Using video conferencing technology, Dr Panizza delivered joint lectures with Tony Spanakos, Associate Professor in Department of Political science and Law at Montclair State University, USA.

Despite a 5 hour time difference LSE students were able to view their American counterparts in real time and contribute to discussions in the joint classroom, allowing them to benefit from a variety of viewpoints and experiences. The  technology also enabled additional speakers to guest lecture including Professor Lucius Botes, from the University of the Free State in South Africa.

Each two-hour session was based on a case study of a BRICS country.  Students were asked to work in cross University groups on a summit presentation and used the VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) Canvas to plan and discuss presentations.  Despite being a voluntary course double the number of LSE students applied to take part than were spaces available.

Course evaluation surveys indicated that students were very interested in the course content, non-Western accounts of the global South are not usually part of the undergraduate curriculum.  The interdisciplinary approach of the course and opportunity to work with students from another university were also stated as reasons for applying to take part.

brics-classroomThe lecturers aimed to ‘diversify and deepen the learning experience by allowing students the opportunity to hear and engage with multiple perspectives on a common theme’, and engage with the politics of the BRICS in a ‘far more diverse context than would have been possible otherwise’.  The students reported that the opportunity to have two professorial voices in one classroom was appreciated and the Q&As were very stimulating.  The lecturers noted that several students developed meaningful interactions with them and were able to broaden their advice for essays.  However careful preparation is required to allow for a seamless experience with technology.  Classes are easily delayed if video conferencing technology is not set up in advance and there are any technical problems.  The time difference is another factor that has to be taken into account.

 

Adapting the pedagogical approach

The evaluation of the BRICS project highlighted the need to develop new teaching methods and forms of student participation that take full advantage of new communication technologies.

As Senior Learning Technologist Kris Roger notes:

“As soon as you introduce the element of distance to a course, then you need to fundamentally rethink how you go about your teaching. […].  Not replicate exactly what we do as a face to face class. It’s like really embedding the distance, the technology, into practice rather than just focusing on preparing the class and the content and switching on the video and getting started”

The evaluation highlighted that the traditional LSE format of a lecture followed by a seminar did not translate well into this pilot, as lectures took over the collaboration time between LSE and MSU students.  Not only did more class time need to be devoted to enabling student collaboration but students needed more support with the initial forming and communicating in groups.  Lecturers reported assuming that students would be more comfortable choosing their own technology to communicate with each other; however, students found the multiplicity of platforms and lack of guidance confusing.  Once the platform Canvas had been selected for collaboration, students’ began effective discussions online and often reverted to using their own tools such as Whatsapp, Skype and Google Docs. This supports findings by LSE SADL that although students may be comfortable with using technology in their personal lives they are not familiar with applying these tools to their academic work.

Recommendations and next steps

Collaborative teaching and learning is a new area for LSE and as Dr Panizza noted “we only scratched the surface of a teaching experience full of possibilities”.  You can read the reflections of the course lecturers on the LTI blog.

One of the issues that was raised in the evaluation of this project was the role of LTI and how to better communicate our expertise as learning technologists.  Our aim is to ensure that where technology is used it extends teaching opportunities, enriches the student learning experience.  We now plan to embed training for collaborative teaching within future projects to support lecturers to adapt a more student centred approach.  Some of the recommendations for future collaborative projects are listed below:

  • Adopt a student-centred approach with emphasis on collaboration.
  • Clear information from the start: centralised platform or communication channel with information on the course; project goals, choice of technology and links between students’ contributions and evaluation need to be communicated.
  • Form and introduce the groups and the collaboration platform to be used at the start of the project. Students may still choose their own platform if they wish.
  • Clear instructions including roles and responsibilities along with a discussion on role norms and social etiquette for students working on collaborative projects.
  • Use of a structured grading rubric to enable monitoring and encourage participation and collaboration.
  • Sustain Learning Activities such as writing, reviewing and revising throughout the learning process.

It is hoped that more collaborations can take place and we can develop our experience of working with other institutions.  If you would be interested in working on a collaborative project or have another idea for innovation with technology for the pedagogic benefit of students then contact LTI.  LTI grants applications are now open for 2017 for more details see the LTI website.


*BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa)

Christmas treats

As it’s nearly the end of term we thought we would recommend some good online resources to help you enhance your teaching and learning.  Treat yourself to some time to explore these sites and you could find some inspiration for teaching in the new year!

 

12-apps-of-christmas12 Apps of Christmas
https://the12appsofchristmas2016.wordpress.com/

For the third year running the Dublin Institute of Technology are running their award winning course.  Sign up online and then explore an app a day that you can use in your teaching and learning.  You can also view the app’s from previous years courses.

 

 

 

 

 

bob

BOB – Free catch up TV service
https://learningonscreen.ac.uk/ondemand

Bob (Box of Broadcasts) is a service for staff and students to record programmes from over 65 free to air channels.  LSE subscribes to the service and so everyone can not only record programmes from tv and radio but has access to view programmes that have already aired.  You can then create clips to use in your teaching and learning.  Simply select LSE from the list of institutions and then login with your LSE username and password to get started.

 

 

 

teluTELU – Technology Enhanced Learning For You
http://telu.me/

A nice collection of online micro lessons designed ‘to help busy educators use technology to support their teaching and learning’.  Select your area of interest to find examples to suit your needs.  The website also contains case study examples with a good search feature.  Content is added every month so it’s worth keeping bookmarked.

 

 

 

 

 

Mapping learning and teaching

Death Star Logo - No ChalkOur next NetworkED seminar is with James Clay,
on 23 November 14:30-15:30

book a place online

James is a Jisc project manager and was previously the Group Director of IT and Learning Technologies at Activate Learning which incorporates City of Oxford College, Banbury & Bicester College and Reading College, where he was responsible for ILT, IT Services, Business Systems and Learning Resources.

We asked James to tell us more about his upcoming seminar on Mapping the teaching and learning

“Mapping is an useful exercise in uncertain times to think about practice and though any such map may not be accurate or complete, it does allow you to consider and think about actions and training required to change behaviours or how spaces and tools are used.

Over the last few years we have seen considerable use made of mapping the use of social networking tools using the concept of Visitors and Residendirection-by-23am-com-on-flickrts. This was developed by Dave White, Donna Lanclos and Lawrie Phipps into an exercise that could be used to think about a current snapshot of their practice.

The mapping exercise makes you consider how you are using various tools and what needs to happen to change that map, how do you become more resident when using a tool such as Twitter for example.  Or how do you start using a tool which is currently not on your map, such as a professional blog?

The key thing I like to remind people about when using the mapping that this is a continuum and not a distinction between two groups.  Your personal Visitors and Residents map is not, and should not be a static thing.  The mapping changes as new tools are introduced, old ones retire and your role and behaviours change.  The Visitor and Resident mapping exercise in the main covers digital communication, collaboration and participation.

This session discovers if we could we use a similar concept to map teaching practice, curriculum design and learner practices? Sometimes it’s not just about knowing where you are, and where you need to be, but how you get there”.

 

References

Clay, James (2016) Mapping the learning and teaching
http://elearningstuff.net/2016/01/14/mapping-the-learning-and-teaching/

Visitors and Residents: A new typology for online engagement by David S. White and Alison Le Cornu. First Monday, Volume 16, Number 9 – 5 September 2011 http://firstmonday.org/ojs/index.php/fm/article/view/3171/3049

White, David (2016) Visitors & Residents – navigate the mapping
http://daveowhite.com/vandrworkshops/

Lanclos, Donna (2016) Ta Dah! The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Doing a Visitors and Residents Workshop
http://www.donnalanclos.com/?p=570

Phipps, Lawrie (2016) Mapping for Change
http://lawriephipps.co.uk/?p=8305

 

Designing quick and effective games for learning

Workshop on game based learning in HE
Wednesday 30 November 14:15-16:15
Led by Alex Moseley, National Teaching Fellow, University of Leicester
This workshop is open to LSE academics, students and external participants: Book a place

learning-together-by-london-public-library-on-flickr
Simulations and complex digital games need time, money and design/technical expertise to develop. Many educators have great ideas for games yet lack the resources to put them into practice (either technically or in game design terms).

Alex Moseley and Nicola Whitton have therefore created a fast, fun, ten-step workshop for educators, built around the same design process that games designers use, to allow small teams to quickly develop games for learning: either as fully-fledged traditional games, or as prototypes for simple digital games.

Workshop participants will leave with a skill set for identifying, applying and designing games for learning; and with ideas to apply to their own subject areas.

Book a place 

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Ahead of the workshop we interviewed Alex to find out more information about his experience with games

1.How/why did you first become interested/involved in games based learning?

It all started when a card dropped out of my Sunday newspaper. On it was a slightly cryptic, but interesting puzzle – that led me into the centre of an alternate reality game (ARG) called Perplex City. A few months later, I found myself fully immersed (spending hours researching naval signalling flags, and other odd behaviour) and also noticed that many others were as immersed in the game as me, many even more so. Comparing this to the interest shown by my students in my History 101 class, I decided it was worth finding out what engaged the Perplex City players so completely in learning-related tasks. I interviewed the 50 most engaged players, and from that developed a set of key features that I thought could work in education to increase engagement with learning.

2. What type of games have you used in your own teaching?

My first games-based teaching flowed directly from this. I applied the key features from ARGs to my History module, developing an online problem solving game that kept students fed with a constant supply of new challenges, was wrapped in a ‘mystery’ narrative, and saw students battling with each other on a public leader board to win one of a number of prizes. Eight years on, the game still runs each year, and sees students work far more than they need to, pass with an average 2:1 mark, and develop key skills and make key friendship groups to last them for their whole programme.

I have since developed versions of the game for Archaeology and English, and also regularly run workshops with Museum Studies Masters students who develop games for museum education contexts. My latest work is in medical education: working with the Wellcome Collection and healthcare departments internationally to develop simple card games to help medical students to apply knowledge and develop narrative skills in a fun, creative way.

In staff training contexts, I have developed a board game to help programme teams test curriculum designs, and for many years now have been developing play- and game-based approaches to engage conference attendees with the themes or aims of events (running increasingly more encompassing activities for up to 600 participants at ALT-C, Museums and the Web, FOTE, etc.).

3. Gamification and game based learning seems to becoming more popular in higher education, why do you think this is?  What do games do that is different to traditional teaching formats?

Games appear to offer a solution to two of the most recurring themes in higher education: student engagement and teaching innovation. Sadly, this often leads to an assumption that any game-like activity will be both engaging and innovative – whereas of course games are just like an academic course: if they’ve been designed well for that context, there’s a chance that students will engage with them. In recent years, it’s been great to see an increase in simple, traditional or low-fi web games for learning; or playful activities that promote creativity and exploration. It’s much easier for a lecturer to see someone use Playdoh in their teaching and think “I could do that!”; or play a card game and then have a go at creating their own.

4. What advice would you give to teachers thinking about introducing games into their teaching?

Think small, cheap, and fun. The most difficult part is deciding what you’d like your game or playful activity to cover: is it a key concept, or a set of ‘knowledge’? Then draw on your own experience of games/sports etc. to see if there are elements that work particularly well with this chosen theme: simple examples might be to use a dice roll to represent randomness in genetics; or top trumps to compare characteristics of chemical compounds, or representing creative writing through a piece of folded paper (write one line, and the starting word on the next, then fold and pass on to the next student)…

Then try it. It probably won’t work too well the first time, but you’ll get ideas of how to improve it (often from the students themselves). Add depth or complexity as needed over time, but keep that core simplicity at its heart.

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Those interested in gaming may also be interested to know about two other events

17-18 November  Playful learning Special Interest Group meeting – This group is Chaired by Alex and hosts meetings around the country with the upcoming event being hosted in London.  It’s free to attend, whether a member of the group or not, simply apply on the event page.

30 November Copyright Community of Practice – The monthly meeting for November will be a chance to play several copyright games.  The Copyright Community of Practice group is an informal forum for LSE staff interested in discussing copyright matters for more information go to the Staff training and development system.

New learning spaces in Clement House

LTI have been working with LSE Estates and AV to improve teaching and learning spaces at LSE, our most recent project has been to revamp some spaces over 6 floors in Clement House.

Students have made it clear that they don’t have enough spaces around the campus for independent study, for collaborative work, to power their devices or to simply sit between classes (especially where they don’t have to pay for food and drink, or share the space with the public). Our aim was to design spaces in Clement House that are flexible and fulfil a variety of functions; allow students to own and shape the space, to provide and support social interactions and engagement (conversations and community), to offer personal spaces with no distractions (retreat) and to provide resources (power, natural light, work spaces). We want these spaces to represent what it means to study at the LSE. These spaces are an opportunity to bring society and London into the School environment. To inspire curiosity and creativity in students. To offer students space to develop the trans-disciplinary skills of collaboration and communications. To enhance the community feel of LSE informal learning spaces.

Each floor has its own world city theme, (as IR is the home department in the building) with corresponding artwork and technology (including Apple iMac, Mac mini, Smart Kapp board, collaborative tables) and furniture to enable different types of learning activities.

Floor 2 - Rio de Janeiro
Creative, maker space, that is flexible with emphasis on writing. Contains one whiteboard and one interactive smart board to share ideas direct from the board to your devices
clm-floor-2-by-irina-zakharova
Floor 3 - New York
Cafe style break space, wooden bench for individual work & laptop use, an Apple iMac is available for use
clm-floor-3-by-irina-zakharova
Floor 4 - London
Conversation space, informal meeting layout to encourage discussion
clm-floor-4-by-irina-zakharova
Floor 5 - Sydney
Collaborative space - standing height seating and writing with white board
clm-floor-5-by-irina-zakharova
Floor 6 - Tokyo
Connectivity and team working - technology to facilitate sharing, can plug devices into screen and a Mac Mini available for use
clm-floor-6-by-irina-zakharova
Floor 7 - Cape Town
Comfortable quiet reading quiet space, with comfy chairs and plants for a more homely feel
clm-floor-7-by-irina-zakharova

We also commissioned some original digital artwork to be displayed on screens outside of classrooms on two of the floors. Entitled ‘What are we Thinking?’ the animation by local artist Isabel Garrett interprets the brief of bringing London and the world back into the spaces at LSE. You can see the video (with sound) online

clm-animation-what-are-we-thinking-by-isabel-garrett-photo-by-irina-zakharova
In a few weeks we will be adding all of the first year IR318 videos to the screens (with subtitles) in order to celebrate the students work from the innovative project delivered by IR with the support of LTI.

In addition to feedback from students we will be conducting observations of how people use the spaces.  Let us know what you think of the spaces, all completed surveys will be entered into a draw to win Amazon vouchers.

 

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Successfully implementing Ed Tech

Reflections from an EDx course

I recently undertook a Mooc (Massive Open Online Course) hosted by EDx and accredited by MIT on the Implementation and Evaluation of Educational Technology.  Although I was very much a lurker rather than an active participant on the course (one of the main criticisms of Mooc’s), I did find some of the resources useful, particularly the video interviews with individuals mentioned in this blog post.  More importantly it made me reflect on the processes that we carry out here in LTI when evaluating and piloting the use of educational technology.

As learning technologists we constantly test out, explore and critically evaluate educational technology but perhaps we don’t always communicate the specifics of this activity to colleagues.  Different tools have various benefits and constraints which must be taken into consideration including; the scalability, accessibility, associated pedagogy and use, data privacy and storage issues, costs and potential training or support required.  The same tool will have different considerations in different contexts and as technology is always changing and updating this is an ongoing process.  It is also vital to remember that Educational technology does not operate in a vacuum see Tim Monreal’s article which calls for critical digital pedagogical approach.

Pedagogy is always fundamental to the process, (hence the Learning in LTI).  When LTI are contacted by a department or individual with a request for a new technology or tool the question we always ask is ‘what are you trying to do with this tool?’.  What are your learning goals and then we can look into the possible technology and pedagogy to support them.Tools by Yamanaka Tamaki on Flickr_z
One of the key readings on the implementation of ed technology section of the MOOC was Jennifer Groff’s (Groff, 2008) work on developing a framework to identify different barriers to using technology or innovation in the classroom.  Groff points out you can’t just pick a technology and expect the learning environment to change.  Work has to be put into ensuring that staff and students are supported in the use of technology and the teaching and assessment methods suit the learning outcomes.  This resonated with me as I have experienced projects where time poor academics have added the technology but not changed their teaching leading to disappointing results.

Groff identified that lack of innovation (introducing new curricula, new types of assessment or new pedagogy) in education can be due to multiple factors including the structural policies and practices of learning environments, school culture, personal beliefs and attitudes, students expectations and beliefs about learning and teaching and lack of research or the suitability of technology.  Although these barriers can be extremely frustrating being aware of them is half the battle.  LTI are currently working on various projects to listen to the various stakeholders involved in education in order explore possibilities for the future including:

2020Vision; involved speaking to LSE students about their current experience of technology in education and what they would like to see going forward.

SADL; project to work with students to better understand their existing digital and information literacies, share good practice and develop peer support.

NetworkED; seminar series invites speakers from education, computing and related fields to discuss how technology is shaping the world of education.

SparkGrants: provide an opportunity for Academic departments to gain funding and work in collaboration with LTI on projects that innovate teaching and learning.

In a short video interview as part of the course the Executive Director of MIT Justin Reich pointed out that often professional development is just as important as the technology itself and this is something that everyone here in LTI is very much aware of.  Although we have always provided research and training around using educational technology we are now investigating ways to further embed training into projects and how to better communicate the necessity of devoting time not only to learn the practicalities of how to use particular technology but how to use it well in an educational context.  This usually requires taking time to change teaching and learning practices so they embed the technology.  As a team we work with small scale projects to try out new approaches to teaching, learning, assessment and feedback.  Taking part in and evaluating each project allows us to find the tools and teaching methods that can be scaled up and applied to other areas.

Those colleagues that work with us here in LTI are often innovators who should be celebrated and praised for leading the way for others. Integrating change to enhance the student experience, involves renewing your teaching practice, requires dedication and is courageous.  The very nature of technology is that it is constantly changing and it does fail.  As learning technologists we do not know how to use all the tools that are out there and can’t be expected to, what we can do and what we can try and teach others (staff and students), is to learn and adapt as you go.  To realise that it is about developing your own digital literacy so that you have the confidence to give things a go, to try things out and not be afraid to fail.  Innovation and change gets messy (loud and chaotic) and can be hard work (technology may need adapting and usually requires more planning particularly when trialling new things) but the reward is that everyone involved is learning from the process, even more so if you involve your students and enable them to be part of the dialogue.

Successful implementation of educational technology is not only down to the personal development of staff but also students Dr Halverson, Professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis at the University of Wisconsin Madison was a talking head on the Mooc who raised the issue of the ‘digital divide’.  Dr Halverson argued that rather than discouraging the use of technology in classes we should be educating students to take advantage of the technology they have and use it to amplify their academic experience, to explore and use tools to create their own shared learning environments.

Finally course contributor Jeff Mao, (currently at Common sense Media, previously Policy Director of the Maine Learning Technology Initiative) pointed out that when you are considering implementing technology there is no point reinventing the wheel.  If you are going to use technology it should do more than substitute your current practice, while it is often useful to digitise processes, technology allows you to redefine and do things you couldn’t do before.  This is an important point and I think that staff and students are only just starting to explore the new possibilities for teaching and learning.  Technology enables students to connect with each other but to connect with their community.  It provides the opportunity to build things and make things within your institution but also with collaborators around the world providing the social context of learning. While the beauty of creating online resources is that they can be built on year on year and shared with the wider world.   For example asking students to write a 1,500 word private blog post that is only read and marked by the teacher is not that far removed from asking students to write an essay.  But if students are asked to publish a 500 word blog post which includes; linking to and commenting on a relevant news article or resource, reading two other students blog posts and adding comments and feedback to their peers work then the assessment and learning that is taking place is significantly different.

As my first experience of participating in a MOOC my overall impressions were mixed.  Although I did engage with the material and ideas presented in the course I did not carry out the assessments as I felt that the activities were aimed more at those working in schools rather than higher education.  I also found that there was a US bias to the discussions.  However both these factors highlighted that despite the differences some of the big issues surrounding the implementation and evaluation of educational technology are common throughout the education sector.

References
Course content from EDx MITx: 11.133x_2 Implementation and Evaluation of Educational Technology including video interviews with Jennifer Groff, Justin Reich, Jess Mao and Dr Halverson.

Groff, Jennifer, and Chrystalla Mouza. 2008. “A Framework for Addressing Challenges to Classroom Technology Use.” AACE Journal 16 (1): 21-46.

Monreal, Tim 2016, ‘Beyond Surface-Level Digital Pedagogy’ published on Hybrid Pedagogy 23 August 216

Beyond Surface-Level Digital Pedagogy

 

Research in the age of Wikipedia

Copyright and Digital literacy advisor Jane Secker reports live from Prague on her recent work on information and digital literacy.

I’m really excited to be prejane-in-praguesenting at the European Conference on Information Literacy which this year is being held in Prague from 10th -14th October. This is the fourth conference and I’ve been lucky enough to attend every year since the conference started in 2013 in Istanbul. I went to Dubrovnik in 2014, Tallinn in 2015 and this year I am in Prague. The focus of the conference is information literacy, and many papers address issues related to digital literacy as well. It’s a European conference but in fact people come from all over the world, so it’s a fantastic place to get a global perspective on the work I do at LSE to support staff and students develop their digital literacy. The conference also has a strong link with the work I do to provide support and education in copyright matters. This year there are nearly 300 delegates from over 50 countries with just 19 from the UK. The conference theme is about information literacy in the inclusive society and we’ve had keynotes from Tara Brabazon and Jan Van Dijk.

I am presenting twice at the conference, firstly in a panel session that was held on Monday, based on outreach and advocacy work I do as Chair of the CILIP Information Literacy Group (ILG). My co-presenters were Sharon Wagg from the Tinder Foundation, who are a charity who work to promote digital inclusion, and Stephane Goldstein, who as well as being a freelance consultant, is the Advocacy and Outreach Officer for the ILG. In our panel we discussed some recent collaborations between librarians in academic sector with those in public libraries, to share their experiences of helping to develop digital literacies and promote digital inclusion. The TeachMeet events ILG and Tinder Foundation organised earlier in the year were a great way that academic and public librarians could share ideas and experience. I was delighted that two colleagues from LSE Library, Andra Fry and Sonia Gomes, attended one of these events in February to share our experiences from the Student Ambassadors for Digital Literacy (SADL) programme we were running for three years, to support LSE undergraduates.  The panel discussion encouraged participants to share any digital inclusion initiatives they were involved in around the world.  We also discussed what made these collaborations successful and why there might be problems and challenges working in this space. Sharon highlighted the Tinder Foundation’s work with libraries through their digital inclusion fund and it was inspiring to hear about work to support the most vulnerable in society, such as the elderly, job seekers and refugees develop basic and more advanced digital skills.

ECIL is also the spiritual home of copyright literacy, as this was where I first heard about the work of Tania Todorova and her colleagues to survey librarians on a country basis about their knowledge of copyright and requirements for education in this field. This was back in 2014 in Dubrovnik and last year Chris Morrison from the University of Kent and I presented the UK survey results in Tallinn. This year I’m returning to present our latest research, exploring the experiences of UK librarians of copyright, using a research method used in education and information literacy called phenomenography. It’s still early days – we carried out 3 focus groups in higher education and have been juggling work and some pretty intensive data analysis. As neither of us had used phenomenography before we are grateful to the help and advice we received from Emma Coonan and Lauren Smith, as well as several very useful articles they pointed us to. I’m sharing our slides from the ECIL presentation which I delivered on Tuesday morning. It has also been great to catch up with Tania, Serap, Joumana and several of the people who undertook the copyright literacy survey in their own country. Part of what motivated Chris and I to do this research was to understand the fear and anxiety that copyright can create, to look at why it’s a topic many in higher education shy away from learning more about, and use this data to better inform how we develop copyright education. I was struck once again by how important it is to get an international perspective on the work we do, and to see in many cases there are so many things we can learn from others experiences and so much that unites us in our work.

The research and collaboration with Chris has informed my thinking about the best way to provide support for others with copyright queries at LSE. For example, I now use a Copyright Card Game in my workshops, which are a fun and engaging way to learn about copyright. However, being seen as ‘the copyright expert’ can be quite a lonely place, and for me it is important that everyone learns a bit about copyright. This is partly what has motivated me to set up a Copyright Community of Practice at LSE (admittedly I did borrow this idea from Chris who set one up at Kent over the summer). The next session is going to be on the 4th November and it is open to any member of staff at LSE! Meanwhile I will enjoy a few more days in beautiful Prague and return to LSE full of more ideas and possibilities to enhance the support that we provide!

 

Are you interested in developing students digital and information literacies on your courses?  Jane is co-running a workshop with TLC and the library on Thursday 20 October 14:00-15:30

 

information-literacy-by-ewa-rozkosz-on-flickr

Using good practice and examples from the LSE and elsewhere, this session will focus on how to integrate digital and information literacies into the courses and programmes that you teach.

Book a place via the training and develop system:
https://apps.lse.ac.uk/training-system/userBooking/course/7591852

See our website for more information and guides on digital and information literacy